Sep 17, 2009

Love of Books and The Manila International Book Fair


I have taken to reading again lately. It is a habit and a pleasure that I neglected over the years. I seem to have lost the love of reading, became suddenly deaf to the call of the printed word, when I got married and gave birth to my Basti. Life had been so busy as a young mom that I did not have time anymore to read, and the wonder that is Basti, and then Sam, and Simon kept me entertained for days, nights, and weeks, months and years. Eventually the love for reading has been replaced by other passions connected to my love for my boys (like scrapbooking, online blogging, mommy events, and DVD marathons with Basti and Sam). I still read though but not books anymore. I read magazine (i.e. parenting magazines), comics (because Basti buys them), and children's books for Sam mostly.

But about a month ago, my young and beautiful officemate brought a copy of Twilight to work. I flipped through the pages in between calls and I found myself hooked. I read the book the rest of the shift, and was allowed by the owner to bring it home, as long as I'll bring it back the very next day. It was a gift from a friend and she could bear to be without it. I had already seen the movie but it was much better in print. The whole experience of reading again gave me a rush and made me feel good. It's like waking up from a good dream, and feeling very good about yourself the whole day.

And so, the fire brought by reading ignited once again, I asked my sister to lend me some books. She brought home Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and the Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, books turned to movies. Dizzy with excitement, with the sight of 3 books unread on the top of my staircase, I could not decide which one to read first, but then, since I haven't seen the Half Blood Prince movie yet, I decided to read it first.

I read during breaks, in between calls, on my way home, on the jeep. Not on the bus though because reading in buses makes me sick. When I got home, I still read some more before going to sleep.

Basti saw the books and was excited to read the Half Blood Prince. One day, he excitedly told me that he read the book already. What he meant is he went through it and read the titles of each chapter. Basti is only seven and I could imagine how hard it is for him to read the book in it's very fine print and complex words. When I'm awake he would ask me to read the inscriptions on the book, and more than thrice, I found him huddled over Harry Potter trying to read and decipher it all. I made a promise to myself I will buy him some more adventure books suited to his age.

The love of reading is something that I want to pass on to my boys. I was an avid reader as a kid. I started reading when I was in Grade three when we moved to a Canadian-owned mining site in the province, where there was a community library for all the miners' family and kids. I started with Dr. Seuss in Grade 3 and moved on to reading Nance Drew and Anne of Avonlea when I was in Grade 4. My mother and I fought a lot in those days because I refused to go to bed until I'm done with the book I'm reading. My mother would intentionally turn off the lights of our girls' bedroom so I would stop reading and sleep. I would then leave the door ajar so the lights from the sala would stream down to our bedroom and I'd position myself so I can see what I'm reading. This went on for many months until my mother discovered my strategy and closed the bedroom door diligently each and every night. I, then, would wait for them to sleep before I start reading again.

Although I do not want my boys to be like me. I would like to love books and hold them sacred as much as I do. I felt that the love for reading, indirectly, has given me some of the advantages that I enjoyed in life as I was growing up.

And so when I heard about the Manila International Book Fair, I was excited. On my way home from work yesterday, I passed the SMX Convention Center to take a peek of the Manila International Book Fair. I meant just to stay for just a few minutes and just see how an international book fair look likes. Never been in one. I meant to stay for only a few minutes and stayed for a few hours.

My head swum and my heart pumped faster than usual when I got in. There were books and books and books all around, and kids and people who all seem to be excited to be hopping from one booth to another looking for the best find.

I didn't bring any money with me, which is just as well or else I would not be able to contain myself and splurge on books, which would eventually leave me miserable since we are trying to stick to our budget, but I was still able to buy two sticker books for Basti and Sam, and a religious comic book for Basti for only P52. At the Lampara and Easy to Learn Booth, storybooks, sticker books, and coloring books are only P20. Exhibitors include Adarna, Lampara, Precious Pages, Rex, Vidal Publishing House, National Bookstore, among others, and there were so many more! For details, check out the website of the MIBF 2009. It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by books of all sizes, shapes, topics, and genre and to be surrounded by people who share common interest.

When I got home, I waited till Basti got home before we started on the sticker books. Basti whooped out a shout of joy when he saw his comics of David and Goliath. A few years back, he got as a gift from the local library comic books of the story of Jesus Christ and Elias, and has been badgering me since then to get him more comic books of other Bible characters. I was not able to find him any until yesterday.


Basti and Sam had a good time, reading and putting in the sticker to their correct places. They huddled together and Basti tested his multiplication skills on one of the sticker books. I am so glad I went to the fair. I'm planning to go back again with the kids on Sunday.

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